Changes in the purchasing function and the environment in which it operates significantly affect the ideal skill set required for a world-class purchasing professional. Although much has been written in the popular press about the skills required of a purchasing/supply management professional, very little academic research has been undertaken to examine this topic. The objectives of this study were to ascertain which skills are the most important to the function and to develop a concise set of factors to describe a comprehensive set of skills required of a world-class purchasing/supply management professional. One hundred thirty-six purchasing professionals rated the importance of 30 purchasing skills. The skills were subsequently analyzed via exploratory factor analysis. Strategy, process management, teaming, decisionmaking, behavioral, negotiation, and quantitative skills were identified as key skill dimensions.
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